Five-day walkouts planned in Doncaster bin strike

Image caption, Waste has piled up in Birmingham where protests at planned job cuts led to rubbish not being collected

Rubbish collections are set to be disrupted by industrial action by workers at a private contractor.

Members of the Unite union employed by Suez in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, are to stage two five-day walkouts on 23 August and 2 September in a row over pay and jobs.

Union members in Birmingham are also protesting at planned job cuts, leading to rubbish not being collected.

Suez said it was disappointed by the news as pay talks were ongoing.

The action in Doncaster was being taken as a last resort, Unite said.

The union said Suez made a 2% pay offer, conditional on the removal of guaranteed overtime. It said this would mean most workers not receiving an increase.

The company is also planning job cuts, claim Unite.

'Unrealistic demands'

Shane Sweeting, for Unite, said: "Unite recognises that if the strikes go ahead it will have a major effect on local residents but this action is being taken as a last resort.

"We urge Suez to sit down at the negotiating table, make a reasonable pay offer and withdraw its redundancy proposals which will make the contract undeliverable."

Nick Browning, of Suez recycling and recovery UK, said: "We are disappointed that Unite members have chosen to announce strike action while pay negotiations are still ongoing.

"There is a further meeting scheduled between Suez and Unite officials on Friday, so we are at a loss to explain why Unite are pressing ahead with plans to strike in advance of this."

Unite members on the Doncaster contract received a significant pay award last December, and the union's current demands were "unrealistic", he said.

The pay award was "not conditional on employees sacrificing overtime payments" and efforts were on reaching "a negotiated position" to avoid strike action.

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